You have had a change in financial circumstances since you were fined

Section 85 of the Magistrates' Court Act 1980 gives the court power to remit fines where there the defendant has had a change in the financial circumstances. It states;

85 Power to remit fine.

(1)Where a fine has been imposed on conviction of an offender by a magistrates’ court, the court may at any time remit the whole or any part of the fine, but only if it thinks it just to do so having regard to a change of circumstances which has occurred

(a)where the court is considering whether to issue a warrant of commitment after the issue of such a warrant in respect of the fine has been postponed under subsection (2) of [F2section 77] above, since the relevant time as defined in subsection (4) of that section; and

(b)in any other case, since the date of the conviction.


But the option of remission is not available for costs. Paragraph 12 of the Sentencing Council Guidelines states;

Compensation and costs cannot be remitted but, where payment is unlikely or impractical due to the defaulter's means or circumstances, the sum may be discharged or reduced. Victims and claimants should be consulted and given an opportunity to attend the hearing.


Write to sentencing court addressed to the fines officer.


Magistrates are much more likely to grant you a stay of enforcement if you plead your case in person at court.